Imprecision when using measuring cups to weigh out extruded dry kibbled food

J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl). 2011 Jun;95(3):368-73. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0396.2010.01063.x. Epub 2010 Oct 29.


Many pet cats and dogs are fed dry extruded kibbled food by measuring cup, yet the precision and accuracy of this feeding strategy is not known. Over 12 studies, we assessed precision and accuracy of weighing out food portions, of various dry kibbled foods, by measuring cup. Poor precision was noted in all studies, with intra- and inter-subject coefficients of variation ranging from 2 to 13% and 2 to 28% respectively. Variable accuracy was also noted, which ranged from an 18% under-estimate to an 80% over-estimate in portion size. No specific factors were associated with imprecision, but the degree of inaccuracy was negatively associated with portion size (R = -0.67, p = 0.022), and positively associated with the number of subjects participating in the study (R = 0.60, p = 0.048). This is the first study to document imprecision and inaccuracy of using measuring cups to estimate portions of extruded dry kibbled food. Over time, such errors could contribute to insidious weight gain in companion animals, potentially contributing to the development of obesity. Imprecision in measuring food portions could also contribute to failure of weight management programmes for obese animals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed*
  • Animals
  • Cats*
  • Dogs*
  • Weights and Measures / standards*